Gadgets at the Bike Summit

The 5th Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit takes place Wednesday, August 26, 2015 , 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. in Palo Alto, CA. I’ll be there as a panelist.

Silicon Valley Bike Summit 2015

Join the largest gathering of active transportation organizers from government, law enforcement, non-profits and the public at this Bike Summit with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and their presenting sponsor, Stanford Healthcare.

VTA CEO Nuria Fernandez and SamTrans CEO Jim Hartnett kick the summit off as keynote speakers. San Mateo County Health System and Santa Clara County Health Department will debut their bicycle collision reports and discuss recommendations for focus areas. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition will present on a toolkit for local governments to implement Vision Zero plans. Learn about new concepts with the traditional “5 E’s” (engineering, education, enforcement, evaluation and encouragement) in traffic safety.

New technology for cycling safety, fun, and encouragement.

I’ll join Strava, Code for San Jose, and VTA Hackathon on a panel discussion regarding the use of new technology to address data holes and safety accessibility issues. I already have more to talk about than we probably have time for, but I’m interested also in what you think. The questions I’ve been given:

  • How do we use data and tech to increase bicycling and make the roads more safe?
  • How do we utilize these tools for policy and other changes?
  • How do we collect data that makes riding the roads as an end user actually safe?
  • What tech can spur people to ride more?

I suspect Strava Metro will steal the show in this discussion. Strava Metro is the crowd-sourced “heatmap” data showing where Strava members ride, and I know several local transportation agencies and consultants already make use of this data.

Code for San Jose and VTA created this bicycle hazard reporting tool, which can be a planning tool, a 3-1-1 type of “please fix this” service, and maybe even a “Waze for cyclists.” I suppose my own trail flooding map for Santa Clara Valley falls into this ride guidance category, too.

Mark's crazy sound system mixer bike

The final question — “What tech can spur people to ride more?” — addresses gizmos and gadgets. Most of these seem to be fitness tracking apps that encourage you to get out and ride. Bluetooth-enabled handlebars, fun party lights, anti-theft electronics, and bar-mounted speakers might fit into this category of improving the rider experience.

Mark Hirsch’s insane “Orange Guerilla” (shown to the right) is perhaps the culmination of “tech to spur people to ride more.” This Yuba cargo bike loaded with 200 lbs of power, amps, speakers, audio electronics, mixing software and disco lights connects to any Bluetooth-enabled speaker in the vicinity for a high energy rolling dance party. You can probably hear Mark and his bike at San Jose Bike Party’s Obon Ride tonight. I hope Mark can show up to make this event to balance the wonk quotient.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic of technology to improve rider safety, rider fun, and general rider convenience.

Oh, and you can find more about the Silicon Valley Bicycle Summit over here.


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